Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Good Week of Completing Books!


         Jen and Kellee host this kidlit meme at TEACH.MENTOR.TEXTS.  Join us to see what we're all reading.

          It's Monday! What are you Reading? is another meme hosted by Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS that offers reviews of all kinds of books.  

        If you’re on Twitter, use the hashtag #IMWAYR when sharing your link!


Books are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time
                                                                   ~E.P. Whipple
            BE SURE TO VOTE IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY!

The Sixty-Eight Rooms – by Marianne Malone

This is an interesting middle-grade novel with an adventure in the Thorne rooms at the Chicago Art Institute.  I think everyone, adults too, likes to imagine what it might be like to shrink and travel into different places, including the real Thorne rooms, created in the 1930’s by a Mrs. James Ward Thorne, include rooms from numerous historical periods. Ruthie and Jack, sixth grade friends discover magic as they investigate the rooms, and end up creating some magic of their own in their own lives and lives of family friends.  I listened to this and thoroughly enjoyed the story that touched briefly on the French Revolution and the Witch Trials of Salem.  The tapes included an interview with the author and additional information about physical science. 




The Story of My Boyhood and Youth – by John Muir

This is a book I re-read and this time for a book group, where each student read a different book by a naturalist.  They’ve been studying nature writing and the teacher wanted to take them deeper into how the writers were changed by their own environment, thus the group and talk about how we also might be changed by both our reading and our personal experiences.  For example, in Muir’s book, I loved the deeply detailed descriptions of all the birds observed in his new home in Wisconsin (he was born in Scotland), but the importance of this book to me came from Muir’s marvelous descriptions of the Passenger Pigeons, and then their extinction because of ignorance where people thought there was a limitless supply, and the killing and killing of thousands, sending them on the road to extinction.  Even in this re-visiting of the book, I continue to be startled and sad and outraged that I can no longer see these birds, nor can I have the thrill of seeing so many flocks of birds that they darken the sun for a while.  It is hard to imagine such a thing.  If you want a good story of Muir’s roots, and how he began his journey toward being so influential in saving nature, this is a good beginning.

The Raven Boys – by Maggie Stiefvater

Well, after a few pages a week during several weeks, I finally spent real time on this wonderful book, and now must wait quite a while for the next one.  I liked it very much, although the spirits of the characters didn’t hold me quite as much as those in The Scorpio Races, which I adored.  However, in Raven Boys,I love the way Maggie Stiefvater does the deeper research, the way she alternates points of view, and I love a good and detailed story.  This was all of them and more.  The Raven Boys are uniquely interesting and an additional main character is a girl, daughter of a psychic, named Blue.  Stiefvater is a wonderful writer.  I liked this passage:  “More than anything the journal wanted.  It wanted more than it could hold, more than words could describe, more than diagrams could illustrate. Longing burst from the pages…”  Can't say more. Don't want to give away anything!

                    One Picture book to share:  
Flight – by Robert Burleigh, illus. by Mike Wimmer

This picture book offers quite a good short version of the exciting story of Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight from New York to Paris, the first flight across the Atlantic Ocean without stopping.  Of course I know about this historic event, yet reading this story brought me again to this amazing feat.  What courage Lindbergh had, and according to the story, he had spent a sleepless night preparing, then took off for the thirty-three hour flight.  The book tells that he had been up for sixty hours!  Burleigh includes the perils of the flight, even taking off to avoid the low wires near the airport, and flying high enough to avoid a thunderstorm only to realize that the wings were icing up, making the plane heavier and using too much fuel.  There are more dangers you’ll have to discover when you read, and as you read, you will adore the beautiful illustrations that show well the danger and the loneliness of this adventure as Lindbergh makes his attempt to do something no one else had done. 


What’s Next:  I am finishing reading Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli with a group of girls at the 5th-6th grade level.  Great group!  I am listening to the audio version of Shine by Lauren Myracle and have some poetry anthologies and picture books from the library to enjoy.


18 comments:

  1. Sixty Eight Rooms looks so interesting! You are so right that everyone likes to imagine the fantasy of traveling in a magic world like you described.

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    1. Thanks. It is quite a good story for the imagination!

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  2. The next books in the series The Raven Boys are highly anticipated by many I think. I do appreciate Stiefvater's unique characters. So pleased to hear you are reading Star Girl with a group of girls. That book has a special place in my heart. I remember reading it with my student book club about 4 years ago and can still recall some of our conversations.

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    1. It's been a terrific group so far. We are to finish by tomorrow & I'm anxious to see what they think of the ending. We've been talking about strength of character a lot. It would be interesting to read Wonder as a second book, don't you think? I follow Stiefvater's blog, & she wrote this week that she's working madly on the 2nd book! Thanks, Carrie!

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  3. Sixty Eight Rooms looks like a great choice for my sixth grade kiddos, and I am inching up the list for Raven at our library. Your naturalists book club gave me some fresh ideas for book clubs with my own sixth graders, Linda - what a neat idea to have everyone read about a different person and then discuss!

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    1. I have often had students read different books, & this time it happened to be naturalists, looking at the different points of view, how nature had changed them. I hope you like Sixty-Eight Rooms. I found it a good story! Thanks, Tara.

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  4. I have friends visiting Chicago this week and part of their plan is to visit the Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute. It seems serendipitous that I might have a new book for them when they get home...and they are adults, but it sounds perfect as a reminder of their trip! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on it.

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    1. What a great surprise. And, I think there is a sequel coming. The book left it as if there could be. I would love to see the rooms. I hope your friends love them.

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  5. My 7th grade book club enjoyed Stargirl. It's a fun read. I loved Raven Boys and may go back to read Scorpio Races (I was hesitant because I did not enjoy the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, but I have been won over!) Happy reading! Here's my list http://wp.me/pzUn5-1hQ

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    1. I did love The Scorpio Races, and didn't finish Mercy Falls, so I understand. The Raven Boys characters are edgy, which is good & means we'll keep looking for more!

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  6. I loved Raven Boys! I don't get really surprised by a story often, but Maggie got me. It was awesome.

    Sixty-Eight Rooms sounds cool too!

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    1. Some of the parts of Raven Boys blew me away, so I understand about the surprise. I never would have guessed those things that happened, but now I might be a little more aware of looking for interesting things. Thanks, Maria.

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  7. I can't wait to hear your take on Shine! That's a story that has stayed with me! You've listed some other books that I have not heard much about so thank you for that!

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    1. Thanks, Melanie. So far I am loving Shine, & the audio southern accents are making it very real. I'm glad to hear you like it.

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  8. LOVE Stargirl and I am sure your group of young ladies will as well. It is such a great story of difference and strength.
    Glad to hear that Raven Boys is great- will need to get my hands on it at some point.

    Happy reading this week! :)

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    1. Thanks Kellee. I read Stargirl aloud to my class when it first came out, have read it with several groups-now I'd like to pair it up with Wonder. Quite some conversation from those two! Hope you get to Raven Boys soon.

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  9. You indeed had a productive week with your novels! Sixty-eight Rooms has been on my radar and indeed sounds interesting. So glad Raven boys met your reading expectations! And Stargirl sounds like one I should point out to my 11yo!

    --Lorna

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    1. Yes, all good books, Lorna. I imagine that your 11 year old would love either 68 rooms or Stargirl. Happy Reading!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!